Sears bankruptcy? How many Sears, Kmart stores remain in the US?

Marco Green
April 1, 2017

A worker sweeps in front of the entrance to the Sears store at Danbury Fair mall on the morning of Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Danbury, Conn. "It would be odd if it wasn't here".

Sears operates from a significantly smaller space on the first floor of the Mall.

The retailer, long a staple in back-to-school shopping, said that after losing money for years, there is "substantial doubt" that Sears and Kmart stores (Sears Holdings Corp. owns Kmart) will be able to stay open in its annual 10-K filing with the federal government.

In its annual report, Sears says it is "continuing to pursue a transformation strategy and to explore potential initiatives to enhance...financial flexibility and liquidity". He has written two books including Winning At Retail.

Jason Hollar, who is Sears Holdings' chief financial officer, tried to clarify the company's position in a Wednesday statement to the media. Despite being a "going concern", Sears is a "viable business that can meet its financial and other obligations for the foreseeable future", Hollar said. And its catalog business in the early 1900s helped spawn sales for the retailer, including an unconventional aspect of selling "catalog homes". While historical performance drives the disclosure, our financial plans and forecast do not reflect the continuation of that performance.

"As the store experience further declines, and everyone reads the headlines about the brand going downhill, it takes whatever value the Sears brand still has with consumers and totally detracts from that", said Denise Lee Yohn, a brand expert. "So it's a pretty sad tale, actually, of very bad management over time". Years and years of deferred capital expenditures have led to exhausted stores that no longer have appeal to consumers, particularly the next generation of shoppers attracted to more specialized offerings or the appeal of online competition.

Still, Q4 2016 revenue fell to $6.05 billion from $7.3 billion in the year-ago period, and same-store sales plunged 10.3%. The company has $13.19 billion in liabilities.

Sears Holdings announced a major restructuring plan last month with the goal of reducing costs by $1 billion through the sale of more stores, jobs cuts and brand asset sales.

After years of huge losses and store closings, the future is officially in doubt for Sears and Kmart.

Kmart previous year closed stores in Ross, Butler, Beaver Falls, Edgewood and Uniontown. But the firm this year sold the Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. for $900 million, and has made other moves to improve its finances.

As of January, Sears Holdings said, it had 1,430 Sears and Kmart stores in the United States. "However, much of the dip is also attributable to a slump in the number of shoppers visiting Sears and Kmart, and a continued deterioration in conversion rates among those that do". Sears lost out to its direct competitors as well as the explosive growth of e-commerce.

"I'm old school", Scott, 64, said. They both said they've shopped at Sears all their lives.

They were aware that Sears already has closed stores nationally, including the Little Rock store.

The last chapter for Sears looks to be at hand. Sears is now holds debt of over 4 billion dollars.

Sears is not alone in struggling to adapt to the ecommerce era.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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